Friday, July 07, 2006

Friday Random Ten

When it comes to this week's album cover, just where do I begin?

The bold fashion statement of the menfolk, with their matching sweater vests worn over their matching turtleneck sweaters? The stunning appropriation of Jim Traficant's hair nightmare by the female member? The awesome Olan Mills Studio backdrop?

Or perhaps the boldness in naming themselves "Country Church" when they seem to embody neither? I mean, one of their male members is clearly a homersexual and the other two seem to be the models for the Super Mario Brothers.

Maybe we should just move on to the Friday Random Ten.

For those of you joining our program already in progress, here's how it works. Step One, fire up your iTunes or your imitationTunes and set it to random. Step Two, hit play and note the first ten songs that stumble forth. (As always, be honest. If it lands on the Starland Vocal Band, then so be it.) And Step Three, if you're feeling saucy, Bernaise, go ahead and give the songs a Coolness Self-Audit as well. (A friendly how-to guide is available here.)

Here goes:

1. Bukka White, "Shake 'Em On Down" -- Although nowhere nearly as famous as his cousin B.B. King, Booker T. Washington White is a blues legend. This is a classic old tune recorded in 1937, reportedly while White was still imprisoned in Mississippi's notorious Parchman State Prison. So show some goddamned respect. 8/10

2. Radiohead, "Rhinestone Cowboy (live)" -- Even though this is a pretty straightforward and straight-faced cover of a mediocre tune, you've got to admire the cheek it takes to cover Glenn Campbell. But is it cool? 6/10

3. Curtis Mayfield, "Keep On Trippin'" -- On the absolute scale of coolness, Mayfield ranks right up there at the top. This isn't his finest work, but it's still damn sweet stuff. 9/10

4. The New Pornographers, "Twin Cinema" -- I know these kids are supposedly all the rage in the hip indie rocking world, but they just do nothing for me. They might be trying too hard. And trying, as we all know, is patently uncool. 5/10

5. Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, "The Message" -- Now that's a nice recovery. This song is rightfully regarded as a hip-hop classic, a great combination of infectious grooves and brilliant lyrics. Hard to believe they could make a song with such an angry undertone sound so appealing. Good thing The Man is genetically incapable of hearing the lyrics. 10/10

6. The Stanley Brothers, "A Voice From On High" -- The vocals in this bluegrass tune are so angelic, you'd think that you were "on high" with the Heavenly Father too. Well, maybe just "high." 7/10

7. Johnny Cash, "Dirty Old Egg-Sucking Dog" -- The title's pretty much the best part of this song. As much as I adore the Man in Black, a plodding tune about the pathetic old dog he's going to blow away with a shotgun doesn't really do it for me. 4/10

8. Neutral Milk Hotel, "Bucket" -- This is from a 1996 live performance at the Knitting Factory, something I discovered in one of Sen. Ted Stevens' internet tubes. It's a slow burn, lit by some pained Jeff Mangum vocals. Very nice. 8/10

9. Lush, "Sweetness and Light" -- Ah, the sweet sound of shoegazer music. Shoegazer always makes me feel like I'm late for an English lit class. This one has everything you'd want from the genre, from the swirling fuzzy guitars to the high-pitched female vocals. They certainly get the angsty job done, but as Bart Simpson once said, "making teenagers depressed is like shooting fish in a barrel." 6/10

10. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, "Over and Over Again" -- This is another live version I found on the internets. (Sen. Stevens is right! The internets are slow because those tubes are all clogged with this crap!) The live performance is not much different from the studio version, which is to say, it's absofuckinglutely great. 9/10

Well, that gives me a 7.2 average. Much like the MTV Generation, I'm apparently incapable of feeling either highs or lows. What's that like, you ask? Meh.

I'm sure that the rest of you folks can do better than that. So kindly drop your own random ten in the comments below, with or without the coolness self-audit. Or don't. See if I care.

11 comments:

Mike said...

Pretty interesting buncha songs this week. Stanley Bros., nice.

I was never a huge fan of Lush, by the way, but I'll have no criticisms of shoegazer music! One word: My Bloody Valentine!

Ok, that's three words, but who's really counting, right?

Otto Man said...

MBV is the ultimate in shoegazing, so you'll get no complaints from me. And if the guitars are fuzzy enough, I do believe that's one word.

Thrillhous said...

Let's get Friday with it!

1) Artificial red - Mad Season. Crappy song off a good album. 4/10

2) Prison Sex - Tool. Great song off a great album. 9/10

3) Mission - Chris Cornell. I guess this was for the Tom Cruise movie, but I'd like to ignore that. 8/10

4) Any Colour You Like - Floyd. Pleasant instrumental that starts nowhere and goes nowhere. 2/10

5) Goodbye to Romance - Ozzy. Everyone tells me this was THE song at their 8th grade school dance, but I didn't go to teh dance. Sniff. 7/10

6) One - Metallica. Very few songs inspire me to read a book, but this one did. 10/10

7) Doctor Jimmy - the Who. Hey, they can't all be "Pinball Wizard." 1/10

8) School - Nirvana. Fun noisefest. 6/10

9) The Sheriff - ELP. Now we're talking! 9/10

10) Flood - Tool. I'll take it! 8/10

Not too shabby, but I could've done w/out the Floyd and Who tracks.

Smitty said...

...and the other two seem to be the models for the Super Mario Brothers

Bwahahahahahahaaaaa!!! Awesome.

With an iPod in one hand and my bottle opener in the other:

1) Cheatin' on You - Taj Mahal. Eatin' the forbidden fruit, baby. I been cheatin' on you, but somebody been cheatin’ on me. Tit for tat. Forbidden fruit…I’ll go with Unibroue’s Apple Ephemere’. Forbidden fruit indeed.
2) Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love. Wow. 2 songs in a row with flagrant overuse of apostrophies. Sort of like the flagrant overuse of hops in Arbor Brewing Cos’ Big Ben Brew. Tastes like tin, but the song I’ve paired it with is a great one from the great ones.
3) You Make Me Feel So Young – the Chairman of the Board. What beer would the Chairman himself drink? Something classy. Something fresh. Something with tons of alcohol. What better than Dogfish Head’s 120 Minute IPA; smooth, sweet, hard-hitting at 21% abv.
4) Cigaro – System of Down. Cigars go with Great Lakes Brewing Company’s Edmund Fitzgerald Porter. This beer, though, doesn’t have the same tinge that System’s singer gets in your ear after like 3 songs. I can tolerate the beer way longer.
5) When Darkness Falls – Killswitch Engage. Killswitch is vaguely engaging, especially with their “new” singer. It shouldn’t be as catchy as it is..but it is. A similar beer, that I just can’t put my finger on why I like it, is Iron City Beer. It’s generic, it should just be “blah….” But dammit, I drink it when I can find it. Why?
6) Terrible Lie – NIN. Classic, hurt and angry, just like the guy who brewed Rock Bottom Brewery’s Angry Hippie APA. Big hop explosion with a new variety and spicy hops grown in Oregon. Sort of like the big, angry, spicy explosion Trent Reznor made with Pretty Hate Machine.
7) Freewill – Rush. I will choose a path that’s clear. I will choose Free Will. Free will, being a philosophy, is like New Holland’s Phi. Phi is the concept that everything in nature is divisible and thus made in perfect proportion. For Phi, they took all their ingredients, divided it by Phi, and brewed it. Awesome beer.
8) Paranoid – Megadeth. Remake. Sabbath’s version can’t be touched. I’ll drink this with the beer that started it all for me, Guinness, to take the sting off a bit.
9) Agent 00 Funk – Jon Cleary. Smooth funk about smooth super agents. Of funk. To be drunk with a smooth but funky beer, Frank Boon’s Gueuze.
10) Meaning in Tragedy – As I Lay Dying. This band is one of the ones who have mastered perfect congruence between the bass and the double-bass drums, adding the rhythm guitar in the same syncopated rythms and adding a counter-starin on top. All as fast as they can play. A beer with similar multi-layered congruence, where each piece stands apart alone but in perfect rhythm, not syncopation, with the rest is Stone’s Imperial Stout.

Otto Man said...

I'm with you on the Iron City Beer, Smitty.

Of course, I drank Schaefer Light in college, so I may not be the best judge of taste. ($2.49 for a six pack! Come on!)

The Doc said...

Man, I sure hope the New Pornographers don't pop up on my FRT, otherwise we'd have conflicting coolness scales. Not that that's ever happened before...

1. Sacrifice - Coral Egan. Little-known pop-jazz songstress from Canada. She's pretty good, and the fact that she kicks Diana Krall's ass all over the place gives her an extra cool point. 8/10.
2. Feel U Up - Prince. Ack. Not not NOT cool. 2/10.
3. Dracula's Wedding - Andre 3000. Kooky funk with acoustic guitar and bleeps. What? 6/10.
4. Knowing People - Matthew Sweet. Back when he was actually decent and not making crappy cover albums. 7/10.
5. Hey, Johnny Park! - Foo Fighters. Awesome straight-ahead rock tune that I have no complaints about. Minus one point for questionable off-stage politics. 8/10.
6. He Looked A Lot Like Tiger Williams - Hanson Brothers. Plus two points for being a song about the most deserving man who will never be in the NHL hall-of-fame. 9/10.
7. Public Service Announcement - D.J. Danger Mouse & Jay-Z. I like this version better than the original, and it's much cooler to boot. 8/10.
8. Things To Forget - Sarah Harmer. Eeeugh. This song could be my least-favourite of hers. Awkward arrangement and generally bothersome. 4/10.
9. Moby Dick - Led Zeppelin. Finally, a song Thrillhous can be proud of me for having! +2 for drum solo. 9/10.
10. Dear Sons And Daughters Of Hungry Ghosts - Wolf Parade. Toe-tapping indie rock. Yes, you heard me. 7/10.

Grand total of 78/100. Wow, 7.8's the highest I've had for a while now. And I was trying really hard to stick with the self-audit guidelines too. Huh. Maybe I'm all about the cool this week...oh right, the Prince song. Well. Never mind, then.

Otto Man said...

Public Service Announcement - D.J. Danger Mouse & Jay-Z. I like this version better than the original, and it's much cooler to boot.

On that, I agree completely. Simply outstanding.

Hopefully, this common ground can paper over our New Pornographers differences and let this sham relationship of ours survive. If not for us, Doc, then for the children.

Dr. Milton von F√ľnkdoctorspock said...

The Milt-dog started an epic ‘Pod cleansing project this week: the removal of all unnecessary album skits and TV theme songs (re: the latter- don’t ask how many I have). I’ve done all tracks under 55 seconds long and have already gotten rid of almost 100 tracks. Ridonkeylious! My criteria:

* Any skits w/ musical integrity (see A Tribe Called Quest), necessary album context contributions (see Prince Paul’s A Prince Among Thieves) or a high level of hilariousness (see Farnsworth Bentley’s guest stint on The Love Below) were kept. Otherwise, there was no brand name favoritism. Not for you, De La Soul. Nor you, Outkast. And the most flagrantly whack skit recorder of all time is no doubt Eminem. Dude, no one wants to listen to your dumb fucking voicemails. Honestly.

* TV themes for songs we know and love (e.g. Golden Girls) or songs that are generally interesting (see below) were kept. Else, farewell.

1. Billy Corgan, “Squirrels With Tails”

This is from the soundtrack to Ransom. Yes, I bought a soundtrack to a Ron Howard film. Corgan did all the dark guitar work playing in the background of the kidnappers crib. It’s my Howard film of choice. In fact, one of the few I like. This and Splash pretty well cover it. 7/10

2. “The World of Commander McBragg TV Theme Song”

I have to include the lyrics:

This is the World of Commander McBragg
Your hair will curl in the World of McBragg.
He fights monsters galore
And then asks for still more
Or so says the brag of McBragg.

When on the hill the marines plant a flag
They may be led by Commander McBragg.
With a cannon in hand
He can beat any band
Or so says the brag of McBragg.

Fencing and fighting and round table knighting
And slaying of dragons, too.
Shipping and sailing and great harpoon whaling
There's nothing McBragg can't do.
Hunting and trapping and gold miner mapping
And flying to Timbuktu.
Roping and riding and Indian guiding
Commander McBragg comes through.

This is the World of Commander McBragg
Your head will whirl in the World of McBragg.
He can do anything
In his world he's a king
Or so says the brag of McBragg.

This show must have been fucking outrageous. How the hell did it get cancelled? Somebody call Michael Bay! We need a big screen remake! 6/10

3. Nina Simone, “Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”

Our generation needs a sultry crooner. Will someone get on that? Also, she should be able to beat up Mariah Carey. More importantly, she should be willing to beat up Mariah Carey. 8/10

4. Scissor Sisters, “Laura”

This song is so gay. As in it brings happiness to all who hear it. What did you think I meant? You disgust me. 9/10

5. Pearl Jam, “Rearview Mirror”

PJ’s G.O.A.T. 10/10

6. Keane, “Can’t Stop Now”

As hard as I’ve tried, I can’t bring myself to hate these guys. And believe me, I’ve tried, what with the hate mail, the t-shirt that says, “Keane isn’t for me!” and the tattoo that says, “Note to self: If you’re not in the mood to rock listen to Keane.” Still, I’m a sucker for ye olde piano, but I do manage not to love them. 6/10

7. John Coltrane, “Cherryco”

Speaking of blazing good brass work, I saw Broken Social Scene yesterday. ‘Tis a must hit. Eleven musicians, and at times six guitars rocking simultaneously. H-o-t. 7/10

8. Pearl Jam, “Garden (Live)”

My on deck project may be some Pearl Jam cleansing. I like them and all but have too many bootlegs and the like. This isn’t the first time they’ve come up multiple times in one shufflelog. No one likes a DJ who plays the same group twice in less than an hour, unless that group is Outkast and the song is “Hey Ya.” 7/10

9. The Simpsons, “Meet the Flintstones”

“He’s about to hit a chestnut tree.” That Homer guys kind of funny. I have a feeling he might just make it. 8/10

10. Black Sheep, “Blunted”

Though called “Blunted,” not once do the lyrics refer to someone being spoken to bluntly. Hmm… 7/10

75. Milty’s moving in the right direction. I can’t stress the cleansing enough, people.

Mike said...

Ooooo, boy! When I saw Nina's cover of the Animals I was salivating like Pavlov was ringing 16 bells.

And then I saw Rearview Fuckin' Mirror. Kick ass tune.

The Doc said...

Our generation needs a sultry crooner. Will someone get on that? Also, she should be able to beat up Mariah Carey. More importantly, she should be willing to beat up Mariah Carey.

I think we should re-animate zombie Nina Simone and put her on a continuous rotation of recording and Mariah Carey beating.

Otto Man said...

I'd like to second the Zombie Nina Simone recommendation.